“We recommend an alternative system—the complete lives system—which prioritises younger people who have not yet lived a complete life…”
Do you find those words chilling? I do.
This is an exact quote published earlier this year by the respected medical journal Lancet in the summary of a proposal by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., et. al.
Surely you’ve heard of Dr. Emanuel. Key White House health adviser and brother of the White House Chief of staff. Oh, that Dr. Emanuel? Yes, dear, that Dr. Emanuel.
There have been numerous strong objections raised by the American public to the so-called health care reform measures proposed in HR3200, not the least of which concern the “end-of-life services” provisions as outlined in the bill, starting on page 426. America’s sweetheart Sarah Palin recently caused a ruckus when she used the term death panel in reference to those proposed measures, and pointed out the involvement of Dr. Emanuel. Oh, what a ruckus she caused!
There have been many excellent blog posts written on this topic, for example this one by William A. Jacobson, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY, or take a look at this handy graph posted on a blog no less authoritatively entitled Mommy. Basically, if you’re under 10 or over 60, your chances aren’t real good, and if you’re disabled, or if you otherwise don’t measure up to the standards of “promoting and rewarding social usefulness” (yes, also Dr. Emanuel’s words), well then — good-bye, I suppose.
I’m not trying to duplicate all the comments that have been by these and other writers, but what I do wish to point out here is that, granted, the term “death panel” is not contained in the proposed legislation, but the phrase “end-of-life services” definitely is, and when you mix that in with Dr. Emanuel’s own words — well, doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
Not me. I find it scary, very scary.
update: reports are breaking out all over that the Senate is going to drop the end-of-life service provision. So that’s a first down, ten to go. Perhaps the reports of the demise of republican government are premature. But we’re not done yet.